Power Over Ethernet will Change the Game for Access Control Installations

Kelly Mascia

On July 31st In Access
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In today’s market, access control systems are typically installed using several localized cabinets.  A mounted box will contain the access control hardware, power distribution for identity reader and door locking devices to control and power anywhere from two to eight doors.  These boxes are then typically connected using RS485 communications back to a central location for control and integration with other security devices such as surveillance cameras.

While there are a wide variety of identity reading devices from prox cards, fingerprint readers, and keypads, and specific door locking/unlocking hardware such as magnetic locks and door strikes, one factor remains constant.  Each of the remote access control cabinets will require the installation of 110 VAC power which must be put in by a licensed electrician.  This traditional approach to powering access control devices adds extra cost to each installation, along with extra labor time and the necessity of subcontracting an electrician when powering and down powering access control equipment boxes.

The Power over Ethernet (PoE) 802.3bt standard will likely change the way we cable and power our access control installations.  With the potential of either 60 or 90 watts of 48 VDC PoE power, a single Cat5e/6 cable can be installed by low-voltage technicians, to sufficiently power all the connected access control boards and components.

Using this power method, existing cabling such as coax can be used to deliver Ethernet connectivity and PoE for distances up to 500 meters with 30 watts of power available. This will sufficiently power a four-door access control cabinet, boards, readers, and electric strikes.

If a system requires magnetic locks using the maximum available PoE power will operate an eight-door system with a total current draw of 73.8 watts, well within the PoE capabilities.

Centralized power coming from the head end on a single Cat5e/6 UTP cable reduces installation costs. and eliminates separate power supplies as potential points of failure. Additionally, the power can be installed by a low voltage technician, eliminating the need for a licensed electrician to power the cabinets.